Reviewing policies - Reasonable adjustments for mental health

Reviewing policies

Many organisations have absence and reasonable adjustment policies in place. Employers should review their existing policies to make sure they're suitable for employees with mental health problems.

What to consider when reviewing the policies

It can be helpful to consider if the policies:

  • are clear and accessible
  • use language that demonstrates care
  • use triggers points for absence that put employees with recognised and ongoing mental health problems at a disadvantage
  • allow managers and employees to take a person by person approach
  • are flexible to accommodate mental health conditions that might change over time
  • are clear on what needs to be done by who, how and when
  • are easy for employees to find
  • are understood by managers
  • are implemented consistently by managers
  • provide opportunities for employees to give feedback on the policy and recommend changes

Following the review of the policies, it might be found that:

  • the policies need to be revised
  • managers need training and support to implement the policies effectively
  • employees need training and support to implement the policies effectively

The benefits of a reasonable adjustment policy

It's a good idea for your organisation to have a policy that covers reasonable adjustments for mental health.

A policy helps make clear:

  • how and when reasonable adjustments for mental health can be accessed
  • how managers can respond and support staff to put reasonable adjustments in place
  • how reasonable adjustments for mental health will be reviewed and monitored
  • what happens if the reasonable adjustments are not working for the person or the employer

What the policy should include

To support mental health at work, a reasonable adjustment policy might also include:

  • reference to a mental health or wellbeing strategy
  • activities to raise awareness of mental health in the organisation
  • information on the internal support available – for example mental health champions
  • what external support is available – for example an employee assistance programme or occupational health services
  • manager training and support

If there is no policy

If there is no reasonable adjustment for mental health policy, the employer must follow the law. They should also try to be as fair as they can.

For example, they can look at how reasonable adjustments for mental health have been managed previously to help decide how it should be managed now or in the future.

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